Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has found himself at the center of a probe into allegations that he paid and transported women, some of them minors, to engage in sexual relationships, may have attempted to set some of those women up with government jobs, and might have engaged in inappropriate dealings with stakeholders in Florida’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Gaetz has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, even as additional information continues to come to light.
Now Gaetz’s scandals may put his Republican colleague, California Rep. Mike Garcia, in the hot seat. According to FEC filings, Gaetz’s campaign committee donated $2,000 to Garcia’s reelection bid in September–and Christy Smith, running to unseat Garcia, is calling on him to give the money back.
I passed a CA Bill to help victims of human trafficking rebuild their lives. @RepMikeGarcia accepts campaign contributions from Matt Gaetz who solicits victims of human trafficking. #CA25 deserves better. https://t.co/WIOXyzsaML
— Christy Smith (@ChristySmithCA) April 30, 2021
“To no surprise, Mike Garcia continues to side with the worst elements of society, again. Garcia has a history of uniting with conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, and domestic terrorists during his time in politics; now we can add sexual predators to the list,” Smith said in an email. “I hope Mike Garcia will join the bipartisan consensus that this behavior is reprehensible, and do the right thing and return the donations from Matt Gaetz. The 25th District deserves better.”
Requests for a response from Rep. Garcia were not returned prior to the publication of this article.
In itself, the practice of a Member of Congress passing on funds to a colleague facing a more challenging reelection campaign is common. In 2020, Nancy Pelosi dispersed $508,000 to other Democratic politicians, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently offered $5,000 donations to several swing-district Dems.
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